Where do I store my gold and silver coins for safekeeping? It often depends on how many coins you have. Imagine you have a stack of 1-ounce American Eagle Coins standing as tall as a sleeve of Ritz Crackers. That 30-cracker stack is equivalent to about 70 silver coins or 87 gold coins – about a grand in silver or $111,000 in gold. You can always bury them in a tomato can in the yard but I highly suggest securing them in a safe deposit box at your bank.
There are plenty of items that deserve secure storage – documents, mementos and coins. In this article, I’ll be covering items that belong in a safe deposit box, things that don’t, and some alternatives for storage.
What is safe deposit box? It’s a locked box usually held in a larger bank vault. They vary in size and rent for about $50 to a couple hundred bucks a year. While banks offer significant security, you should consider keeping your items in waterproof containers and insure your items in case they get stolen because neither the bank nor the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insure the box contents.
What should be stored in a safe deposit box
Sometimes you need to produce original documents. And other valuables can’t be digitized.
- Birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates
- Social Security cards
- Personal papers and family photos – including archives stored on thumb drives
- Stock and bond certificates – Including Series E Bonds. However, here’s an example where you can simplify your life and consolidate your assets – convert your individual, joint or trust accounts to electronic format
- Property records and vehicle titles
- Insurance home inventory
- Jewelry and collectibles – Make sure they’re insured
What you shouldn’t store in a safe deposit box
Some important documents and items are best secured somewhere else rather than in a safe deposit box. These include things you may need frequently, either when the bank is closed, or when there’s an emergency.
- Cash – The emergency stash should be close at hand, and some banks may prohibit storing cash
- Passport – It’s tempting to place such an important document in safekeeping especially if international travels are infrequent. However, emergency trips are unplanned.
- Estate documents – You’d think the originals of your wills, trust and powers of attorney should be locked up in the box. However, consider having your attorney, executor or other key persons keep the original copies. The bank may seal the safe deposit box when they get word of your death and might only release it when the executor provides legal authorization of access. Minimizing downtime and legal hassles can be advantageous.
- Medical directives – These documents involve your end of life wishes including living will and healthcare proxy. These too should be accessible to your healthcare professionals and family in the event of an emergency.
Other options besides safe deposit boxes
There are several alternatives to use with (and not in lieu of) safe deposit boxes.
- Home safes or strong boxes – Make sure they’d survive a robber (including taking the safe off and opening it later), fire or flood
- Virtual safes – Digital copies of important documents can be conveniently stored online. Consider the convenience of having these documents including medical records, credit cards, bank and investment accounts, and others just a click away. However, technology can be hacked. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your records are safe, private and secure. Comprehensive security measures should include password protection, highest encryption, firewalls, inspections and more. Explore resources available online and through your trusted advisors.
Remember, there’s a big difference between bear markets and someone digging up your stash of silver coins in your backyard. One is when your wealth goes missing temporarily and the other can be a permanent loss. Secure your future wisely.
You can also view this article on the Reno Gazette Journal.